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Birth center in Iowa to close

August 17, 2018

WEBSTER CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa medical center’s announcement that it will close its birth center has shocked the man whose name is on the public hospital.

The Van Diest Medical Center in Webster City announced Wednesday that it’ll close The Family Birth Place on Oct. 12, citing a declining number of births and the proximity of other obstetrical providers in the area, The Messenger reported.

Bob Van Diest said he was shocked by the news and hopes the hospital will reconsider. The hospital was previously called Hamilton Hospital until Van Diest and his wife, Mary Van Diest, gave $10 million to the hospital in 2008.

“Our local hospital is over a $30 million community investment,” Bob Van Diest wrote, “and for our hospital to say, don’t have your baby in our hospital is an insult to the taxpayers of Hamilton County.”

The facility receives part of its funding from a separate levy on property taxes, according to the county’s treasurer.

The hospital earned $93,055 in revenue from its delivery and labor room with expenses of $75,854 in 2017, according to an audit conducted by independent auditor Seim Johnson LLP, of Omaha. In 2016, the hospital had a delivery and labor room revenue of $185,083, with expenses of $109,417, according to the audit.

“It is unfortunate that the Van Diest Medical Center has decided to discontinue the OB service in Webster City,” said Daniel Ortiz-Hernandez, the city manager. “The hospital is an anchor in the community not only for the city of Webster City, but for all of Hamilton County.”

The OB service is a significant service that families consider when deciding whether or not to relocate to the community, Ortiz-Hernandez said.

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Information from: The Messenger, http://www.messengernews.net

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